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Japan: mini-size coffee products appearing.

Japan: Mini-size coffee products appearing

A variety of mini-size coffee products have been appearing at convenience stores. They include 50g regular coffee cans and 20g instant coffee bottles. In the past, Merita Cafe entered the market with 50g RC boxes. About seven years ago, influential brands produced a 100g can aimed to capture RC trial users. These attempts, however, were unsuccessful. As far as the current interest in mini-size development is concerned, there seem to be circumstances related not merely to manufacturers but also to stores.

Ajinomoto General Foods (AGF) commenced limited sales of "Maxim RC Mini Size Can (50g)" at major CVS's. The new product is a "brand-new design can whose contents are suitable for 5-6 cups, aimed to capture young unmarried people as the main target." In addition to the three existing items, "Original", "Mocha Blend" and "KIlimanjaro Blend"; three new items have been released - "Cafe Milano", "Cafe France" and "Mocha Irgachafe" - ranging in retail price from 250- 300 [yen].

Although the average price per cup is costly from 40 to 60 [yen], AGF explains: "As new-type RC items, they will satisfy consumer expectations and activate the RC market". In fact, they are being favorably adopted by CVS' s, centering around the 7-11 chain, and "3million cans (150 tons) will be sold for the starting year". AGF also commercialized miniature 20g IC bottles of "Blendy" intended for convenience stores. At a chain store, 7-8 bottles are selling a day, bringing about a threefold growth.

Ueshima Coffee (UCC) is also responding with smaller sizes. From the beginning of the year, they commenced sales of 20g IC bottles of "The Blend 114" and "Kilimanjaro Blend" through CVS outlets. They will also release sales of 120g RC "Mocha Blend" and "Kilimanjaro" cans.

Commenting on the tendency towards smaller sizes which is becoming a new current at the CVS market, a manufacturer stated: "In last autumn, a buyer, feeling uncertain about the inactive CVS coffee corners, asked us for advice. Compared to the past, sales of table luxuries centering around coffee, have more than halved. Housewives purchase essential daily necessities alone, and unmarried people tend to purchase goods which are not kept in stock. If the tendency continues, both IC and RC may disappear from the display shelves".

In short, no special products have been commercialized for CVS's. On the other hand, the number of cups of coffee drunk is relatively increasing, and CVS customers are no exception. Thus, the manufacturers seem to have commenced developing products to be used by young unmarried consumers, while taking account of more reasonable prices.

The National Federation of Colombian Coffee Producers has opened a coffee shop in April in front of JR East Japan's Tokyo Station (Marunouchi side). In order to enhance consumer awareness of Colombian coffee, a video film "Pride of the Nation", which introduces coffee, its culture and also national conditions of Colombia, will also be presented to students.

Imports of Colombian coffee in Jan-Dec., 1990) totaled 58,408 tons, up nearly 50% over 1989, occupying the second largest share, following Indonesia. The Federation has decided to strengthen PR activities with "The Sweet Aroma of Challenge" as this year's theme, they have earmarked about 360 million yen of budget, up 40% over 1990. These activities include a joint venture with JR East Japan to open "JR Cafe de Colombia", which specializes in Colombian coffee" as mentioned above.
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Title Annotation:packaging coffee in smaller quantities
Author:Karasawa, Kazuo
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:Specialty advertising - the niche marketing advantage for tea and coffee marketers.
Next Article:The Perfect Cup.

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